With a viable Third Front appearing more realistic than ever during the last five years, the CPI(M)-led Left Front has stepped up efforts to snatch regional parties presently with the Congress and BJP.
The CPI(M) looks in charge, more so after snaring the Biju Janata Dal, ending its 11-year-old alliance with the BJP. Encouraged by this early success, it is lining up more such parties for a friendship pitch.
Senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, who was negotiating with Naveen Patnaik, returned to the capital and spent a busy day briefing his party colleagues and other allies on the Orissa coup.
Yechury spoke to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, apart from the CPI(M)’s existing allies – TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu and BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra.
“We are appealing to the non-Congress and non-BJP parties to join us, since we feel the country needs a decisive shift in the policy direction from which these two parties want to pursue,” he told Hindustan Times.
Also in the crosshairs is Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar, who, for all his denials and protestations of support for the BJP, is having a hard time killing rumours of his exit from the NDA.
Kumar may take his time deciding. But a number of UPA allies seem impressed by the Third Front’s early successes. “The emergence of a third front as a formidable combination in the next Lok Sabha looks bright,” said NCP spokesman D. P. Tripathi. NCP is already in the alliance put together to help Patnaik’s BJD survive the trust vote in Orissa.
Now, the Front is lining up its leaders for a show of strength at a rally on March 12 in Karnataka, organised by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda. Expect to see on stage CPI (M)’s Prakash Karat, CPI’s A B Bardhan, TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu and TRS chief K Chandrashekhar Rao. AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa has not yet decided.
By all accounts the front is on. “Third Front will form the next government at the centre. We are in constant touch with various UPA and NDA allies,” said senior TDP leader N Ramamohan Rao.
State of the states
Third front rises
State of the alliances